Don’t do anything before asking these questions. Take the time to understand if a mobile app really is right for your business.
Do I need a mobile app for my business?
The ultimate question
Many people feel they need a mobile app for their business as most companies have one these days, but in reality, they aren’t always needed. If you really don’t need an app or your business model doesn’t suit a mobile platform then you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and resources by identifying that fact early on and skipping the rest of the process. One of the simplest ways to identify if you can enjoy the advantages of a mobile app over a website is to look at the web traffic hitting your site. If the majority of your visits are from mobile devices then there is a good argument that your customer base is very mobile.
If on the other hand, you have no mobile traffic then it is equally a key indicator that your user base is less mobile-savvy. Next, look at the average demographic of your consumer and try to gauge how receptive they would be to adopting mobile. The older your demographic the less likely they are to truly embrace small business mobile apps. So, if your average demographic are those aged 70+ then perhaps there aren’t enough advantages of having a mobile app over a website. . If on the other hand your average demographic much younger, then I would suggest that mobile apps are business opportunities that should most definitely be on your radar!
What is my aim from developing business mobile apps?
Clarity on your idea is key
There are many apps available but on the whole, when looking at mobile applications for businesses, they fall into two distinct types of product. The first is apps that are aligned 100% with the product or service of the company. As an example to this, take John Lewis. A business use of mobile apps that was 100% in line with their service would be a shopping app. Their business is in retail, they sell products, and have stores at which you can browse, ask questions, and subsequently purchase your goods. A service-aligned app would do exactly the same thing but in a mobile and remote package. You would be able to browse products, find out details, and purchase all from your mobile device and without the need to be present in any of their stores. The second type of mobile app for businesses is the type that is seen as marketing products and for which a direct service alignment isn’t absolutely necessary.
When you build a marketing product, the aim is to get as many people to download it as possible. This is regardless of whether they are existing customers. An additional business use of mobile apps is to promote your brand whilst doing so. In contrast, a service-aligned app is only really of use to people who already use your products or services and as such, has a more limited audience. The marketing type of small business mobile apps is generally more successful products. They appeal to a wider range of people and are the kinds of mobile apps for business that end users desire to share with friends. If you are looking to replicate your service via mobile with a service-aligned product then you need to ask whether the addition of this mobile aspect is truly needed. To revisit John Lewis, if they have a mobile optimised website for which you can browse and purchase goods, is there really any need for an expensive shopping app which merely replicates that experience? I would say not.
Is the business use of my mobile app intended to drive revenue or be an investment?
The financial model
When we work with new clients, one of the key questions we get asked is “How do I monetise my app?” The answer is not as straightforward as you may think due to the variety of ways in which you can do it. When looking at how to monetise your mobile app for business, you first need to decide whether it is a revenue earning product or an investment product. If you think that the main advantages of mobile apps for business are to create a steady stream of income, then you are looking at a revenue product.
If, on the other hand, your business mobile app relies on sheer numbers of people such as a social network, then it is more sensible to give the app away for free and seek to build value in both the platform AND the user base. In this instance, you have an investment product. If you are in the latter category then pricing models don’t make any difference to you. If you are in the former, however, they can mean the difference between sink or swim.
Do I need the IP?
Being clear on ownership
The subject of ownership comes up in almost every conversation we have with clients and is an often misunderstood issue. You should be looking to own the rights to change, modify, and sell your product, But this is very different from owning the full IP to the development of a mobile app for businesses, our process, and our technical know-how. Owning this full IP would prevent us from using any knowledge gained during the development (or any so ware patent registered) at any point in the future. This effectively freezes the knowledge of the team at the point that development begins. For those clients that wish to own this full IP including technical know-how for their business mobile apps, there is a substantial cost added to the project and is not generally required. We assign the copyright of the code to you to use, sell, and make modifications as you wish. This allows you to carry on your normal business without any further payments to Glance and indeed sell your business at any point in the future.
Can I afford to develop mobile apps for my business?
The true cost
If you value your brand, you can’t afford to make the wrong choice; and with so many options available it can be a minefield. Choosing the wrong partner or technology approach when developing mobile applications for businesses can damage your brand quicker and more effectively than you could imagine. Pick the right partner, however, and you can enjoy all of the advantages of mobile apps for business. Putting forth an image as a forward-thinking brand whom values their client base by putting out quality products regardless of platform is never more apparent or immediate as with the mobile app ecosystem. Mobile apps for business are not cheap. Those products that are will most certainly cost your business in the long run. If you don’t have a significant budget available, then I would recommend you save your money rather than waste it on a poorly executed product. And remember that you will need some budget for once the product is complete. Simply releasing a mobile app for your business and hoping it will be successful is one of the quickest routes to failure. We advise a budget split of 80:20, 80% for design and development and 20% for marketing and promotion. Whilst the marketing and promotion allocation may seem small compared to what a marketing company will tell you, we know the stores inside out and how to take your product to the top with a fraction of the budget of larger marketing agencies.
Do I have the time to fully leverage mobile apps for new business opportunities?
Give your project time
The whole process of developing a mobile app for businesses can take time. If you are in a rush to get your product to market, then we are likely not the right partner for you. We take time and care over every project; it’s the only way we can deliver best-in-breed products time and time again. Allow yourself plenty of time to get your small business mobile app to market. Otherwise, you will end up with a poorly executed project regardless of the amount you have spent on it. We have a very efficient process for developing mobile apps for businesses that are born out of working for large enterprises over many years. It’s the quickest route to market whilst retaining the absolute level of quality you should be seeking. If you are prepared to rush your product to market, then again, we are most likely not the right partner for you.
Do I want the best business mobile apps?
The right quality
How do you view your brand? Is it favourable? I would hope so otherwise you’re probably doing something wrong. How do you want other people to view your brand? I’m guessing it is also favourable otherwise you probably won’t do much business. These seem like obvious questions. However, it never fails to amaze me at how large, well-known brands cut corners and cheapen their image when putting products or services out on mobile. It is normally due to a lack of knowledge, sometimes listening to the wrong people, or having the wrong driving force behind product development. Whatever the reasons, you simply must not do it when designing your own small business mobile apps. If you aren’t prepared to do mobile properly then you really shouldn’t do anything at all. Whilst the connotations of not having a mobile app for business these days is a negative one, the impact of doing mobile wrong is even worse; so please don’t make the same mistake.